Dri­ver at­ti­tu­des need to chan­ge

George Herald - Auto Dealer - - Nuus - ANICA KRÜGER

South A­fri­ca en­ded the y­e­ar on a po­si­ti­ve no­te for ro­ad sa­fe­ty in 2017, with a 10% drop in ro­ad fa­ta­li­ty ra­tes o­ver the fes­ti­ve se­a­son.

Un­for­tu­na­te­ly, this a­chie­vement was not shared o­ver the past Eas­ter pe­ri­od, which saw a 14% in­cre­a­se, with 510 de­at­hs be­t­ween 29 March and 9 A­pril.


W­hen Trans­port Mi­nis­ter Bla­de N­zi­man­de re­le­a­sed the Eas­ter ro­ad death toll, he an­noun­ced the shocking in­cre­a­se in ro­ad fa­ta­li­ties o­ver Eas­ter o­ver the sa­me pe­ri­od in 2017. This pe­ri­od coi­n­ci­ded with the na­ti­o­nal school ho­li­days. The Au­to­mo­bi­le As­so­ci­a­ti­on (AA) and in­du­stry ex­perts re­spon­ded and agreed that the re­le­a­se of t­he­se num­bers must ser­ve as an ur­gent in­di­ca­ti­on to go­vern­ment to bring all ro­le play­ers in ro­ad sa­fe­ty in­to the fold to de­al mo­re ef­fecti­ve­ly with this shocking was­te of hu­man li­fe.

Ac­cor­ding to the mi­nis­ter, the 510 de­at­hs on the coun­try’s ro­ads o­ver this pe­ri­od are 61 mo­re than in 2017. T­he­re was al­so an in­cre­a­se in the num­ber of vehi­cles in­vol­ved in fa­tal cras­hes o­ver the ex­ten­ded Eas­ter pe­ri­od. In 2017 this num­ber was 349 cras­hes. In 2018 it dra­ma­ti­cal­ly in­cre­a­sed to 430. The AA poin­ted out the very wor­rying in­cre­a­se in the num­ber of pe­de­stri­ans kil­led o­ver the pe­ri­od, up from 33,8% in 2017 to 37,3% this y­e­ar.

It must be re­mem­be­red that the fa­ta­li­ty num­bers may in­cre­a­se due to a 30-day wai­ting pe­ri­od af­ter 9 A­pril. This is a cu­s­to­ma­ry pe­ri­od w­hen cal­cu­la­ting fi­nal num­bers to ac­count for all ro­ad-re­la­ted de­at­hs du­ring the da­tes un­der re­view.


Rob Hand­field-Jo­nes, o­w­ner of trai­ning com­pa­ny www.dri­ving.co.za, said he would li­ke to com­pa­re the fi­nal num­bers of the full pe­ri­od be­fo­re com­menting. He has in the past been highly cri­ti­cal of the way t­he­se sta­tis­ti­cs we­re “mas­sa­ged” to im­ply im­pro­vements ba­sed on an in­cor­rect com­pa­ri­son. Hand­fiel­dJo­nes is a pre­vi­ous he­ad of the AA and re­no­w­ned for his fe­ar­less stan­ce on ro­ad sa­fe­ty.

The AA says t­he­se fi­gu­res paint a bleak pic­tu­re. “W­hi­le t­he­re are com­mit­ments to bring t­he­se num­bers do­wn dras­ti­cal­ly, the op­po­si­te is hap­pe­ning. We re­main of the view that a mo­re con­cer­ted, co­he­si­ve ap­pro­ach in­vol­ving all ro­le play­ers in ro­ad sa­fe­ty in South A­fri­ca must be con­si­de­red as a mat­ter of ur­gen­cy.” The as­so­ci­a­ti­on al­so no­ted that con­sis­tent acti­ons are nee­ded to de­al with the de­at­hs of pe­de­stri­ans as the most vul­ne­ra­ble group. “As ro­ad sa­fe­ty ad­vo­ca­tes, we be­lie­ve e­du­ca­ti­on with this group is ur­gent­ly re­qui­red, as is a chan­ge in dri­ver at­ti­tu­de to sharing the ro­ad with t­ho­se most at risk. We al­so be­lie­ve that de­a­ling mo­re ef­fecti­ve­ly with pe­de­stri­an sa­fe­ty will gre­at­ly re­du­ce the num­ber of fa­ta­li­ties we see an­nu­al­ly,” the AA sta­ted.


A­not­her a­rea of con­cern for the AA is the is­sue of ef­fecti­ve policing as op­po­sed to policing ba­sed on pro­cess.

“Too ma­ny a­vai­la­ble traf­fic law en­for­ce­ment of­fi­ci­als are s­till sta­ti­o­ned at sta­tic si­tes checking for ex­pi­red li­cen­ce dis­cs and dri­ving li­cen­ses. This, in our o­pi­ni­on, will not ef­fecti­ve­ly re­du­ce the num­ber of fa­ta­li­ties. We ho­pe this will be a key pri­o­ri­ty for the mi­nis­ter to im­ple­ment,” the AA said.

Ac­cor­ding to N­zi­man­de, t­he­re we­re a num­ber of ar­res­ts o­ver the sa­me pe­ri­od that sug­ge­st that South A­fri­can dri­vers are s­till in­dul­ging in dan­ge­rous dri­ving. Mo­re than 6 000 dri­vers we­re caug­ht speeding, 3 208 we­re dri­ving un­li­cen­sed vehi­cles, 2 344 we­re not we­a­ring se­at belts and mo­re than 1 600 we­re dri­ving vehi­cles with worn ty­res. N­zi­man­de no­tes that all of t­he­se are cau­se for con­cern.


Ma­na­ging di­rec­tor of Mas­terD­ri­ve Eu­ge­ne Her­bert says that if we are to a­chie­ve a­not­her 10% re­ducti­on in fa­ta­li­ty ra­tes, at­ti­tu­des need to chan­ge. He says South A­fri­can dri­vers tend to put the bla­me on “ot­her dri­vers” wit­hout as­ses­sing their own dri­ving be­ha­vi­our. “Few dri­vers be­lie­ve that their own be­ha­vi­our li­ke speeding or diso­beying ot­her ro­ad ru­les is the pro­blem. The que­s­ti­on is how we can chan­ge t­he­se be­liefs and the con­se­quent dan­ge­rous dri­ving be­ha­vi­our. This is w­he­re the cor­po­ra­te wor­ld has the po­ten­ti­al to bring a­bout the big­ge­st dif­fe­ren­ce. Through a­wa­re­ness, trai­ning and sa­fe­ty i­ni­ti­a­ti­ves, t­hey ha­ve the op­por­tu­ni­ty to show em­ploy­ees - and ot­hers - the first-hand con­se­quen­ces of dan­ge­rous dri­ving be­ha­vi­our.”

Her­bert’s com­pa­ny is in­vol­ved in a num­ber of sa­fe­ty i­ni­ti­a­ti­ves with va­ri­ous com­pa­nies to bring a­bout this a­wa­re­ness. Ma­ny com­pa­nies host wel­l­ness days and e­vents to help em­ploy­ees le­ad he­althy li­fe­sty­les. Mas­terD­ri­ve re­gards the kno­w­led­ge and skills to be a com­pe­tent and a­wa­re dri­ver on South A­fri­can ro­ads as an es­sen­ti­al part of the wel­l­ness ap­pro­ach. This kno­w­led­ge ul­ti­ma­te­ly af­fects mem­bers of a fa­mi­ly as well.

“W­hi­le sig­ni­fi­cant chan­ge de­pends on ci­ti­zens and law-en­for­cers, com­pa­nies ha­ve con­si­de­ra­ble access to dri­vers and the po­wer to en­coura­ge a chan­ge in mind­set.”

Pho­tos: The Ci­ti­zen

Trans­port Mi­nis­ter Bla­de N­zi­man­de

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